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The Casey Anthony Case From the Perspective of a (Former) Social Worker

The Case

Two-year old Caylee Anthony was last seen by family on June 16, 2008. One month later, her grandmother tracked Caylee’s mother, Casey down and forced her to admit she didn’t have the child with her. A two-year old is not capable of taking care of or protecting herself. Casey came up with several stories about the child’s whereabouts, when the girl was actually already dead.

After Caylee had died, Casey spent the time shopping, entering “hot body” contests and partying. When her mother finally found her Casey said she had been investigating Caylee’s kidnapping, looking for “Zanny,” or Zenaida, the woman she claimed was Caylee’s nanny.

Background

Casey Anthony gave birth to Caylee when she was 20 years old. She and Caylee lived with Casey’s parents in Orlando for the whole time that Caylee was alive – family videos and photos attest to this. The little girl was primarily taken care of by her maternal grandparents (her father’s paternity was never established).

As Caylee became more and more verbal, learning to construct and speak sentences of two, then three words, it is said that Casey became worried that Caylee would “tell on her,” telling her parents that Casey wasn’t at home taking care of her.

Caylee’s grandparents saw her for the last time in mid-June. Casey disappeared as well, telling her parents variously that she was in Tampa or that she and Caylee were spending time with the nanny, who had been injured in a wreck. When Cindy finally found Casey, Casey admitted that she didn’t know where Caylee was. Casey said that the nanny and the nanny’s sister, Samantha, had kidnapped Caylee.

Cindy called law enforcement and filed a missing person report. Responding officers interviewed Casey. Audiotapes from the phone call Cindy placed feature a young mom who seemed normal, not frightened, worried or concerned.

When Casey’s car was found and Cindy and George Anthony picked it up at the tow yard, George, a retired law enforcement officer, recognized the smell in the car. Cindy called law enforcement again, saying the car had been found and, “it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.”

For this time frame, Caylee is still missing. She was already dead. While the investigation was still being carried out, she was still treated as a missing person.

Allegations From the Trial

Defense attorney Jose Baez said in his opening statement that he would prove that George Anthony had been sexually abusing Casey, and that Lee, Casey’s older brother, had also abused her. Baez also said that Caylee had gotten into the above-ground pool by herself and drowned. Casey found her and panicked. George helped her to cover up the accidental drowning by making it look like Caylee had been murdered.

The prosecution said that Casey did not want a now-verbal Caylee to tell her parents that she, Casey, was not taking care of Caylee as she was supposed to be  doing. Although they didn’t prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, they presented the trunk liner from Casey’s car. The liner was permeated with the smell of death. Prosecutors also presented chloroform evidence.

Because Caylee’s body was so badly decomposed when it was found, the forensic investigators and coroner c

Criminal Evidence

Every criminal leaves a piece of himself at the crime scene.

ould not say with any certainty what killed Caylee – or who killed her.

My Perspective

Now that the trial has ended and the jury has given its verdict, it’s in the record that Casey lied repeatedly. Some of these lies were pretty big whoppers. Whether they were to cover up her guilt and actions, I don’t know.

I do know that her actions while Caylee was missing raise several huge, red, flapping-in-the wind flags. Why didn’t she notify law enforcement right away when she knew Caylee was missing? Why was she shopping, using stolen checks and partying during that month?

A parent with strong maternal instincts would be calling the police daily, at least once a day, first to file a report, then to ask about any information about a missing child. That parent would not be able to work, let alone participate in the party scene.

The photos of Casey with Caylee point up a beautiful young woman, beaming as she and her child looked into the camera. Video clips show Casey playing on the floor with her daughter as they horse played. Other clips show a young child talking and turning pages in a picture book; a photo of a little girl in a car seat, wearing a cap and clutching a doll; a girl resting on her tummy with her chin in one folded hand as she gazed quietly into the camera. Her potential has been snuffed out.

The trial brought into stark relief a troubled family. Casey’s older brother, Lee, was allegedly shut out of the family’s celebration after Caylee was born; a volunteer searcher said that she and George had been intimate; George admitted only to spending time with her; after Lee testified, his mother, Cindy, was caught by video cameras glaring at him in the back of the courtroom.

Any emotional, personality or mental problems that Casey may have will need to be addressed and/or diagnosed by mental health professionals. She may have done her daughter a favor by allowing her parents to be her primary caregivers. Then again, who knows? Would the problems within the Anthony family have extended to affect little Caylee had she not been killed?

The defense allegations at the start of the trial are not easy to take under the best of circumstances. Whether the Anthony family knew they would be raised during opening statements or not, being accused, in front of an international audience, of molesting a family member is painful and humiliating. Answering those questions under oath during testimony is just as difficult. Whether Casey will be welcomed at home, regardless of when she is released, is an open question.

This family has been through one of the most difficult times imaginable and they will need time to recover, heal and mend relationships. Couple, family and individual therapy are all good suggestions.

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